Feb 252015
 

How to survive a snow day (in the South)In the Carolinas, snow days are a rare treat, but their scarcity means we aren’t always ready for what comes along with them. Hazardous driving conditions, icy steps, power outages and stir-crazy kids are par for the course. With a little planning, some creativity and a few affordable products, many winter weather woes can be alleviated.

Icy Steps & Sidewalks

I forgot how much my dog loves to frolic in snow. Which is why, when he lurched forward to run figure eights in the powdery stuff last week, his leash was still securely attached to my wrist and I was busy fiddling with the buttons on my coat. After a few terrifying seconds of skating across the thin layer of ice, I came to my senses and dropped the leash, skidding to a halt against a pine tree. Thankfully, the only thing wounded was my pride, but it could’ve been much worse. Continue reading »

Feb 212015
 

Recently I shared a blog post where I compared the voltage drop that causes dimming in a series of lights to a leaking garden hose. Today I’m sharing four tips on how to reduce or prevent this voltage drop in your electronic transformer so that the last bulb in your run of lights is just as bright as the first one. Here’s a simple rhyme to help you remember them: Short, Thick, Twist, Split.

1. Shorten the distance.
2. Use thick secondary wires.
3. Twist the secondary wires.
4. Split the output.


Interested in learning more about wiring low voltage lighting systems?

Feb 162015
 

Presidential guest room in the 1890'sIn 1891, electric lighting was still in its infancy. President Benjamin Harrison, the first president with electricity in the White House, was skeptical about its use. His story reads like the headline from a grocery store tabloid…

“President Benjamin Harrison Shocks America!”

“The Shocking Truth about Your President!”

“The Electrifying Fear that Plagued President Harrison”

Truth be told, the story about President Harrison’s fear of electric shock is a legend too, though not on the level of Bigfoot or the Lochness Monster. Continue reading »

Feb 102015
 

Understanding voltage drop, a garden hose analogy
Have you ever heard of the electricity/water analogy?

If wire is a water pipe and electricity is the water, voltage is the pressure of the water.

I’m a writer, not an engineer. So making sense of the technical aspects of light and energy is sometimes challenging. I need graphics and analogies to wrap my brain around them.

I’m working on some content about the very engaging topic of (dun-dun-dun) … voltage drop. Specifically, how to prevent it in low voltage lighting systems. Spoiler Alert! The voltage wins in the end.

Along the way I came across the water/electricity analogy. It made sense to me and allowed me to put voltage drop into a context that I could better understand and I thought it was worth sharing. Continue reading »

Feb 062015
 

February 14th, one day among 364 others that demands a little romance. In preparation for this amorous holiday, I present to you 11 tantalizing, captivating and love-inducing photos of delightfully lit spaces that virtually radiate with romantic appeal.

1. A Wedding at Dusk – Exposed antique light bulbs are a graceful touch above this wedding reception table. Vintage bulbs cast a beautiful, soft light without a harsh glare.

2. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland  – It’s the romantic lighting double whammy. Lie in bed inside these softly lit glass igloos in Kakslauttanen, Finland while you gaze upon the most fascinating light exhibit on earth: the Aurora Borealis. Bam. Continue reading »

Feb 032015
 

The rule of 3’s. They’re the triple threat of lighting design. Three types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. Three levels of design: top, middle & bottom. For today’s blog post I’ve put together a quick reference guide on what the different layers are, along with a few tips on how to use them to pull your space together.

Three Layers of Light: Ambient, Task & Accent

Three layers of light1. Ambient lighting is used primarily for general vision. It is not directed at one particular item or area of the room, but instead uniformly brightens the space. An example would be an overhead dome light. Continue reading »

Jan 292015
 

The Seattle Mariners may have just upped their game when they retrofitted their clubhouse with an LED lighting strategy focused on intensifying the moods, energy levels and performance of their players.

The LED-based project, headed up by Planled CEO John Hwang, Lighting Wizards principal Stan Walerczyk, and Harvard professor Dr. Steven Lockley, aims to prepare the players for the game with one type of light, and then wind them down afterwards with another. The desired outcome is a baseball team that’s alert and awake before and during the game, and rested and relaxed after.

What is Human Centric Lighting?
Human centric lighting (HCL) is the study and application of light on the human body: mainly mood, energy & health. There’s no question that recent advances in LED lighting technology have helped our planet with its cost-savings and energy efficiency, but how might it benefit me, as a human being? Can a personal lighting strategy make me a better wife, mother, employee? Can it make a professional athlete perform better? Continue reading »

Jan 232015
 

5 Media Rooms every football fan will drool over It’s Superbowl season, which means we’re thinking about football. Whether you are a fan or not, it’s almost impossible to ignore the heated sports radio debates and proudly waving window flags of die-hard fans. To celebrate this (almost) National holiday, I gathered some truly awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, drool-inducing images of how 5 Houzz’ers creatively & effectively used light in some of the most elaborate media rooms we’ve ever seen.

1. I can’t decide… should I melt into the supple leather of these seats, play a quick game of pool, or belly up at the bar to watch the game? Decisions, decisions…

What I love about the lighting design: Colorful cove lighting is perfect for movie & game watching and can be matched to your favorite team. Using a color-changing LED tape light, you can keep it on one color, or program it to automatically change throughout the game. Continue reading »

Jan 202015
 

how to use light to make a small space look big
An increasing number of people are moving towards smaller living. Smaller ecological footprint, smaller spending … smaller home. Whether your reasons for living small are by choice or by necessity, strategically placed lighting can create the illusion of a larger space.

If your room looks more like a closet than a family room, here are a few ways to make the space seem larger without the hassle and expense of a major construction overhaul…

Recessed Lights — In a small room where floor space can be a precious commodity, floor lamps probably won’t make the cut. Large light fixtures hanging from the ceiling can break up the room and make it seem smaller – an advantage in open living areas, but quite the opposite in an already tight space. Low-profile recessed lights solve this problem by creating a clean line of sight that can shine bright for tasks or be dimmed for a family movie night.

Track Lights — Track lights take up much less visual space than traditional fixtures, but can still make a decorative statement in the home. Each individual light on the track can be adjusted to bounce off of walls and ceilings, or lighten up a shadowed corner. When you combine the flexibility of track lighting with the low profile of recessed lighting, every corner of a room is brightly lit without compromising space or style.



Natural Light Sources — Capitalize on every bit of natural light by keeping windows as exposed as possible. Heavy drapes and dark curtains can take away from this valuable light source. Skylights are a wonderful solution to a poorly lit space, but are substantially more expensive when you start involving structural work. A more cost-effective alternative are solar light tubes, sometimes called sun tunnels. The metal tubes capture light at the roof and reflect it into the home. Look at the difference they make in this entryway:



Colors & Accessories — After you’ve put your perfect lighting strategy into place, expand on it with bright colors and artfully placed accessories. A large, strategically positioned mirror makes the space seem wider and longer, and reflects light back into the room. When considering paint choices, Freshome recommends using light blues, greens, light grays and neutrals to create a bright and airy feel.

Putting it all together – Whether your layout is cozy or expansive, having a strategic lighting plan is a crucial part of home design, and coming up with the right one can be daunting. Here are 5 super-helpful resources that can guide you through your lighting project:

Jan 162015
 

Vintage Edison Light BulbsLast week we talked about the energy-efficient, color-changing, programmable, high-tech smart bulb that’s trending in 2015 lighting technology. But in the late 1800’s it was the Edison bulb that transfixed the world as one of the most technologically advanced inventions of its time. In a practical sense, the electric bulb was the ‘smart technology’ of the 1800’s. Fast-forward a century, and the term Edison bulb holds an entirely new meaning. Continue reading »

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